Here are the 'commitments' that online platforms are making to the Indian government before the general elections
- Facebook, Twitter, Google, ShareChat, WhatsApp and other social networking platforms in India submitted their '
Voluntary Code of Ethicsfor the General Elections 2019' with the Internet Mobile Association of the India to the country's election commission.
- The Code of Ethics outlines eight commitments that the tech giants with adhere to in India during the elections this year.
- One of the salient features of the code is that, in the 48-hour period leading up to the conclusion of polls in any constituency, election content shouldn’t be circulated on television and mediums — like the internet.
The ‘Code of Ethics’ outlines eight commitments that the online platforms are making to the Indian Government with respect to handling content during the election period.
It also points that since group companies, like Facebook, have different products and services in the market that operate under different business models, in this case Whatsapp And Facebook — it will have to make sure that each of the subsidiaries will strive to meet the ‘spirit’ of the code while accounting for the ‘diverse nature’ of the apps.
Here’s what the social networking sites in India are promising the Indian government:
1. While keeping the principle of freedom of expression in mind, tech giants are promising to deploy ‘appropriate’ policies and processes to facilitate access to information during the elections in India.
2. They’re also promising to voluntarily undertake campaigns to inform and educate its users about the electoral process in India.
3. The Election Commission along with social networking companies have established a notification mechanism where officers from the commission can notify the platforms if there’s bean any violation of Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The section basically states that in the 48 hours leading up to the conclusion of polls in any constituency, election content shouldn’t be circulated on television and mediums — like the internet.
4. Each of the social networking giants will also have a dedicated team during the general elections to directly address any feedback from the Election Commission.
5. Political advertisers looking to market their parties on social networks have to submit pre-certificates issued by the Election Commission or the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) in order to be eligible. And, if anyone without a certificate is publishing political ads, then the responsibility falls on tech companies to notify the Election Commission.
6. Any political ads that go up on social sites have to disclosed as such using tags, labels or whatever mechanism is in place to ensure transparency.
7. If the Election Commission asks for an update on what measures social media companies are putting in place in order to prevent abuse on the platforms, the companies have to oblige provided the request comes through IAMAI.
8. IAMAI will be the watchdog monitoring that all the social networking sites involved to ensure that they are following the code.